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BWW Review: GEORGIE: MY ADVENTURES WITH GEORGE ROSE Breaks the Fourth Wall at Signature Theatre

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The fourth wall divides the audience from the actor and this invisible barrier is tough to break. In Signature Theatre's production of Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose, which stars Ed Dixon, Dixon breaks the fourth wall just like his acting mentor, George Rose, before him. In this production, it is quite apparent that Rose was an influence of Dixon's approach to acting. The play touches on moments in Rose's acting career. Rose won a Tony Award for his role in the 1972 revival of My Fair Lady as Alfred P. Doolittle and he also won a Tony Award for his role in the 1985 production of The Mystery of Edward Drood. Like Rose, Dixon is well known on the Broadway stage. In 2010, he won a Helen Hayes Award for his portrayal of Max in Sunset Boulevard. In Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose, Dixon's stories about his relationship with Rose range from hilarious to heart wrenching. Signature Theatre's world premiere production of Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose, directed by Eric Schaeffer and written by Ed Dixon, is a powerful and passionate production that turns out to be more than the typical story of a mentor and mentee.

Dixon's talent is remarkable and his dedication to his craft is shown in the way he approaches every character within this production. He is able to illuminate a person's personality through his mannerisms and voice. One moment, Dixon is speaking in his own voice then (as if a light switch clicks to the "on" position), he morphs into Rose or even Truman Capote seamlessly. He is an engaging storyteller and is able to pull a range of emotions out of his audience that range from laughter to grasps of shock. There is never a dull moment throughout the entire production. There are stories filled with humor, such as Dixon's encounter with exotic wildlife in Greenwich Village to the opening night of My Fat Friend. Dixon does not hold back in his many personal accounts of his time spent with Rose and that is what is truly refreshing about this production. He reveals that Rose was gay, but does not make a big deal out of Rose's sexual orientation. Rather, he focuses on highlighting Rose's eccentric personality. Not only does the audience get to know more about Rose, but they learn tidbits of juicy gossip about other actors that graced with stage with Rose. Alcoholism and difficult egos are rampant. This production isn't all about the acting and gossip. Dixon reveals that there was a side to Rose that neither he nor the public did not know. From a crucial turning point in Sosúa, Dixon breaks down the building blocks that he had carefully built about how likable Rose was. The scene in which Dixon describes his haunting and intense encounter with Rose's dark secret upon his arrival in Sosúa makes you feel as if you are there with Dixon. You endure Dixon's emotional roller coaster along with him every step of the way.

The set, designed by Eric Schaeffer, is elaborate, but also minimal. A single chair is the focus center stage. In the background, ropes coil together. In front of the stage, there is a proscenium that stops half way across the stage. There are also stand alone lights with naked light bulbs and dark wooden flooring. The set makes it feel that you are backstage with Dixon. The lighting, designed by Chris Lee, assist with Dixon's shifts in character and assists with setting the scene, such as the projection of the moon during a scene in which Dixon talks about going to see Mr. Rose at a play in Central Park and the shifting of lighting colors to show a change in color temperature in Sosúa.

Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose runs until February 7, 2016. The production is 90 minutes without an intermission. Tickets can be purchased online.

Photo caption and credit: Ed Dixon in Georgie at Signature Theatre. Photo by Christopher Mueller.


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